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BIOTECHNOLOGY
Read the following passage carefully
Nowadays in the news you can read a lot about biotechnology and the controversies about it and perhaps you ask yourself what it is exactly. Well, this article is going to give you a brief history of the field of biotechnology and show you that, although the word “biotechnology” was first used in 1919, we have been using biotechnology for many thousands of years in ways that are completely uncontroversial. It will also look at the more modern developments which have started intense debate.
Beer and Cheese
When you are drinking a cold beer on a hot day, or eating a delicious cheese sandwich, you can thank biotechnology for the pleasure you are experiencing. That’s right! Beer, bread and cheese are all produced using biotechnology. Perhaps a definition will be useful to understand how. A standard definition is that biotechnology (or biotech for short) is the application of science and engineering to the direct or indirect use of living organisms. And as you know, the food and drink above are all produced by the fermentation of micro-organisms. In beer, the yeast multiplies as it eats the sugars in the mixture and turns them into alcohol and CO2. This ancient technique was first used in Egypt to make bread and wine around 4000BC!
Antibiotics
Antibiotics are used to prevent and treat diseases, especially those caused by bacteria. They are natural substances that are created by bacteria and fungi. The first antibiotic was made in China in about 500BC – to cure boils. In 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin and it was considered a medical miracle. Modern research is looking at the creation of super-antibodies which can kill bacteria and viruses inside the cells that house them.
Cleaning up
Our modern consumer society produces a lot of waste which needs to be disposed of safely and without harmful end products. Environmental biotechnology can help. Indeed, the use of bacteria to treat sewage was first practiced in 1914 in Manchester, England. Vermiculture or using worms to treat waste is another environmentally-friendly practice and the end product is a natural fertiliser. Bacteria have even been developed to help with problems such as oil spills. They convert crude oil and gasoline into non-toxic substances such as carbon dioxide, water and oxygen and help create a cleaner, healthier environment.
Modern times
These examples of biotechnology are accepted by most people. However, the discovery of the DNA structure by Watson and Crick in 1953 was the beginning of the modern era of genetics and the following areas of biotech are very controversial. Read on…
GM food
The genetic modification of plants and crops has been in practice for many years. This involves changing the genetic code of these plants so that they are more resistant to bad conditions like drought, floods and frost. Supporters of GM food say that it can offer the consumer better quality, safety and taste and for over a decade Americans have been eating GM food. However, things are very different in Europe where genetically modified food is very strictly regulated and regarded with deep suspicion by the public. GM food has even been called “Frankenfood” in the press, a term inspired by the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. There is a great cultural divide between America and Europe over whether such food is safe to eat and will not harm the environment and the discussion is still in progress.
Cloning and stem cell research
1997 saw the birth of Dolly the sheep, the first animal cloned from an adult cell. This was a remarkable achievement which created world-wide debate on the ethical issues surrounding cloning. International organisations such as the European parliament, UNESCO and WHO all declared that human cloning is both morally and legally wrong. However, we need to make a distinction between reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. Nowadays the idea of reproductive cloning – creating a copy of another person - is no longer interesting for researchers. Instead therapeutic cloning is creating excitement in the biotech world. Key to this technique is stem cells, which are master cells that have the potential to become any other kind of cell in the body e.g. nerve cells, blood, heart muscle or even brain cells. Stem cells themselves have generated a lot of controversy as it was believed that only human embryos could provide them. However, it now appears that adult stem cells offer the same possibility. This would mean that a patient who suffered a heart attack could provide doctors with his adult stem cells which could then be implanted back into his heart and used to create heart muscle, replacing the muscle that was damaged. As the genetic code is identical, there would be no problem of the body rejecting the implant as, unfortunately, happens with organ transplants. In the future, biotechnologists hope that stem cells could be used to grow entire organs. In this way biotechnology offers the hope of revolutionising medical treatment. In this brief overview of the history of biotechnology we have jumped from making bread to making human organs - an enormous leap- and it is clear that these modern practices raise many controversial issues. However, despite the debate, we can imagine that as biotechnology has been around for many years, it will still be around for some time to come - but who knows where it will take us?
Questions
Question 1-3
After reading, choose the best answer for the following questions
1
What is the main topic of the article?
2
What does the pronoun "IT" in the first paragraph refer to?
3
Which products were first made with fermentation of micro-organisms?
Question 4-6
Decide whether the statement below is True or False.
4
Alexander Fleming discovered super-antibodies which can kill bacteria and viruses inside the cells that house them.
5
GM food is easily available in the U.S. and Europe.
6
Researchers believe that adult stem cells could be used to create body parts.
Question 7-12
Type the best heading (A- D) related to the following information
7
  First be made in China in about 500 BC
8
  Be produced with the fermentation of micro-organisms
9
  Involve changing the genetic code
10
  Be called “Franken food” in the press
11
  Create world-wide debate on the ethical issues
12
  Use the yeast to turn the sugars into alcohol and CO2
Question 13-14
Match the years on the right column with the events on the left one.
13
1
First used the word “biotechnology”
2
Discovered penicillin
3
First practiced the use of bacteria to treat sewage
1928
1914
1919
14
1
Discovered the DNA structure
2
Saw the birth of Dolly the sheep
1997
1953
New words/ Phrases
Uncontroversial
/ ˌʌnkɑːntrəˈvɜːrʃl/
(adj)
Không thể chối cãi, không gây tranh cãi gì
Controversy
/ˈkɑːntrəvɜːrsi/
(n)
Sự tranh luận, sự tranh cãi
Uncontroversial (adj)
We have been using biotechnology for many thousands of years in ways that are completely uncontroversial.






Controversy (n)
Of course, the importance of raising awareness about human trafficking, for example, is a relatively uncontroversial issue.
Organism
/ ˈɔːrɡənɪzəm/
(n)
Sinh vật
Organism (n)
A standard definition is that biotechnology (or biotech for short) is the application of science and engineering to the direct or indirect use of living organisms.
Using the mouse as a model organism is the most important idea because of their striking similarity to humans in anatomy, physiology, and genetics.
Fermentation
/ ˌfɜːrmenˈteɪʃn/
(n)
Quá trình lên men
Fermentation (n)
The food and drink above are all produced by the fermentation of micro-organisms.
Beer fermentation takes weeks and is a carefully regulated process.
Antibiotic
/ˌæntibaɪˈɑːtɪk/
(n)
Kháng sinh
Antibiotic (n)
Antibiotics are used to prevent and treat diseases, especially those caused by bacteria.
For animal products, if a cow is treated with antibiotics because of an infection, the milk they produce while being treated is not sold.
Fungi
/ ˈfʌŋɡiː/
(n)
Nấm
Fungi (n)
They are natural substances that are created by bacteria and fungi.
Plants and fungi engage in intimate relationships that range from harmful to beneficial.
Cloning
/kloʊnɪŋ/
(n)
Nhân bản
Cloning (n)
The European parliament, UNESCO and WHO all declared that human cloning is both morally and legally wrong.
The advantage of cloning is cloning animal models to help find cures to diseases in a more time-efficient way.
Stem cell
/ stem sel/
(n)
Tế bào gốc
Stem cell (n)
Tests suggest that stem cells could be used to regenerate damaged body parts.
Stem cells themselves have generated a lot of controversy as it was believed that only human embryos could provide them.
Yeast
/jiːst/
(n)
Men; men bia
Yeast (n)
In beer, the yeast multiplies as it eats the sugars in the mixture and turns them into alcohol and CO2.
If you add up the cost of the yeast starter and the milk you use, you'll still find you can make delicious healthy yogurt at home very inexpensively.
Leap
/liːp/
(n)
Bước ngoặt, bước nhảy vọt
Leap (n)
In this brief overview of the history of biotechnology we have jumped from making bread to making human organs - an enormous leap.
His parents’ hope is that his next leap will bring Sam home.
To be disposed
/ dɪˈspoʊzd/
Được xử lý
To be disposed
Our modern consumer society produces a lot of waste which needs to be disposed of safely and without harmful end products.
To be in practice
/'præktis/
Được áp dụng, được thực hành
To be in practice
The genetic modification of plants and crops has been in practice for many years.
Make a distinction between A and B
/dɪˈstɪŋkʃn/
Phân biệt giữa A và B
Make a distinction between A and B
However, we need to make a distinction between reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning.
Convert ST into ST
/kənˈvɜːrt/
Chuyển đổi cái gì sang cái gì
Convert ST into ST
They convert crude oil and gasoline into non-toxic substances such as carbon dioxide, water and oxygen and help create a cleaner, healthier environment.
Practice
Choose the correct word A, B or C to fill the blank.
1
Pasteur discovered that the tiny _____ in the wine could be destroyed by heat, without damaging the wine.
2
Yogurt is produced through the _____ of milk by lactic acid bacteria.
3
The global warming _____ concerns the public debate over whether global warming is occurring, how much has occurred in modern times.
4
If your child has a virus, ______ will not help your child feel better or keep others from getting sick.
5
______ has disadvantage which includes losing the diversity of genes.
6
All the waste here is so dangerous so this waste needs to be collected, stored and _____ .
7
Although there is a _____ beer, wine and liquor as well as other lesser known alcoholic beverages, they share one thing in common. They are the fermentation products of _____.
8
Experts mostly agree that the key for a cure for Parkinson's disease will probably come from _____ research.
Read the following passage carefully
Nowadays in the news you can read a lot about biotechnology and the controversies about it and perhaps you ask yourself what it is exactly. Well, this article is going to give you a brief history of the field of biotechnology and show you that, although the word “biotechnology” was first used in 1919, we have been using biotechnology for many thousands of years in ways that are completely uncontroversial. It will also look at the more modern developments which have started intense debate.
Beer and Cheese
When you are drinking a cold beer on a hot day, or eating a delicious cheese sandwich, you can thank biotechnology for the pleasure you are experiencing. That’s right! Beer, bread and cheese are all produced using biotechnology. Perhaps a definition will be useful to understand how. A standard definition is that biotechnology (or biotech for short) is the application of science and engineering to the direct or indirect use of living organisms. And as you know, the food and drink above are all produced by the fermentation of micro-organisms. In beer, the yeast multiplies as it eats the sugars in the mixture and turns them into alcohol and CO2. This ancient technique was first used in Egypt to make bread and wine around 4000BC!
Antibiotics
Antibiotics are used to prevent and treat diseases, especially those caused by bacteria. They are natural substances that are created by bacteria and fungi. The first antibiotic was made in China in about 500BC – to cure boils. In 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin and it was considered a medical miracle. Modern research is looking at the creation of super-antibodies which can kill bacteria and viruses inside the cells that house them.
Cleaning up
Our modern consumer society produces a lot of waste which needs to be disposed of safely and without harmful end products. Environmental biotechnology can help. Indeed, the use of bacteria to treat sewage was first practiced in 1914 in Manchester, England. Vermiculture or using worms to treat waste is another environmentally-friendly practice and the end product is a natural fertiliser. Bacteria have even been developed to help with problems such as oil spills. They convert crude oil and gasoline into non-toxic substances such as carbon dioxide, water and oxygen and help create a cleaner, healthier environment.
Modern times
These examples of biotechnology are accepted by most people. However, the discovery of the DNA structure by Watson and Crick in 1953 was the beginning of the modern era of genetics and the following areas of biotech are very controversial. Read on…
GM food
The genetic modification of plants and crops has been in practice for many years. This involves changing the genetic code of these plants so that they are more resistant to bad conditions like drought, floods and frost. Supporters of GM food say that it can offer the consumer better quality, safety and taste and for over a decade Americans have been eating GM food. However, things are very different in Europe where genetically modified food is very strictly regulated and regarded with deep suspicion by the public. GM food has even been called “Frankenfood” in the press, a term inspired by the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. There is a great cultural divide between America and Europe over whether such food is safe to eat and will not harm the environment and the discussion is still in progress.
Cloning and stem cell research
1997 saw the birth of Dolly the sheep, the first animal cloned from an adult cell. This was a remarkable achievement which created world-wide debate on the ethical issues surrounding cloning. International organisations such as the European parliament, UNESCO and WHO all declared that human cloning is both morally and legally wrong. However, we need to make a distinction between reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. Nowadays the idea of reproductive cloning – creating a copy of another person - is no longer interesting for researchers. Instead therapeutic cloning is creating excitement in the biotech world. Key to this technique is stem cells, which are master cells that have the potential to become any other kind of cell in the body e.g. nerve cells, blood, heart muscle or even brain cells. Stem cells themselves have generated a lot of controversy as it was believed that only human embryos could provide them. However, it now appears that adult stem cells offer the same possibility. This would mean that a patient who suffered a heart attack could provide doctors with his adult stem cells which could then be implanted back into his heart and used to create heart muscle, replacing the muscle that was damaged. As the genetic code is identical, there would be no problem of the body rejecting the implant as, unfortunately, happens with organ transplants. In the future, biotechnologists hope that stem cells could be used to grow entire organs. In this way biotechnology offers the hope of revolutionising medical treatment. In this brief overview of the history of biotechnology we have jumped from making bread to making human organs - an enormous leap- and it is clear that these modern practices raise many controversial issues. However, despite the debate, we can imagine that as biotechnology has been around for many years, it will still be around for some time to come - but who knows where it will take us?
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